Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Diane DeFord


This study investigated the relationships between Arabic speaking Iraqi refugees and teachers in the schools their children attended as perceived by parents and teachers. Specifically, this study explored the communication processes utilized by the Iraqi refugees, their children’s teachers, and their schools. Using a qualitative methods approach, this study also examined the multiple literacy forms and “funds of knowledge” that these families exhibited and utilized in support of their children’s learning. I also looked at the methods and practices that Arab refugee families living in the South used to preserve their heritage language and culture. I read and analyzed the data and identified patterns in the data. I found that parents were very supportive of their children despite the fact that many teachers in the U.S. feel that parents who are learning English cannot successfully support their children’s success in American schools. They used different methods to enhance their children’s learning of literacy, language, and cultural heritage. Based on the findings, I suggest actions that parents, teachers, and district offices and refugee resettlement agencies could take to improve home-school communication. This is the first study in the United Stated to investigate the relationships between Arabic-speaking Iraqi refugee families and their children’s teachers and ways that Iraqi families support their children at home and in American schools.


© 2016, Saad K Bushaala